The Lord of History

MEMORY VERSE: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” —Isaiah 14:24

ISAIAH 10:5-7, 15

WHEN our first parents transgressed God’s law they were driven out of Eden and from his presence to die. They turned away from him; their hearts became darkened to his will and ways; so he “gave them up,” as the Apostle Paul declares in Romans 1:21-24.

However, God has since then, and from time to time, interfered in human affairs—sometimes of individuals and sometimes of nations—in order that his purposes with his own people might be carried out, and his great plan of the ages brought to a successful conclusion. As our memory verse states, God’s purposes never fail. This is true of his grand design for the eternal happiness of the human race, and it is true of his people whom he calls to service in the outworking of that design.

While it would be improper to say that the Creator is the Lord of all history, his intervention in the affairs of some of his human creatures from time to time has had much to do with the direction in which history has moved forward. The great Deluge of Noah’s day is a good example of this. At that time, because of uncontrolled wickedness all but a few of the human race were destroyed. How greatly this changed the course of history we may never know.

Then there was God’s intervention in the affairs of Egypt under the leadership of Moses which brought about the deliverance of his people from slavery in that godless country. How much this changed the course of Egypt we do not know, but it certainly did introduce the Hebrew people to a new life which led to their being the covenant people of God; a people which, when they were obedient could look to the great Creator to guide and protect them.

On many occasions God intervened on behalf of his chosen people and enabled them to be victorious in battle over their enemies. On one occasion he protected them against the invading army of the Assyrians when 185,000 Assyrian soldiers besieged Jerusalem. In answer to the prayer of King Hezekiah, this great army was destroyed by the angel of the Lord.

But in today’s lesson the situation is different. The time had now come for the Israelites to be punished, and God used the Assyrians to do it. Here the Assyrians became the rod of God’s anger, and the staff in their hand was his indignation. The Lord said, “I will send him [the Assyrian] against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.”

The Scriptures reveal that in the final period of the reign of sin and death God again uses human instrumentalities to bring about the destruction of Satan’s world. One of the prophecies pertaining to this is Isaiah 42:13,14, which reads: “The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy [among the nations] like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself [from interfering in human affairs]: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.”

ISAIAH 14:24-27

In the first section of the lesson the Lord informs us that the King of Assyria attacked and destroyed the Israelites from selfish motives of his own, for it was in his heart “to destroy and cut off nations not a few.” (10:7) The Lord asks, “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?”—10:15

Because the King of Assyria did not recognize that he was being used of the Lord to punish Israel, his own destruction, and the destruction of his army, was foretold. This is the special purpose of God referred to in our memory verse, although the principle applies to all that God designs to do. He said concerning the King of Assyria that he would “break” him in his land, “and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them [the Israelites], and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”


Has God, throughout the ages, regulated the affairs of all the nations?

For what purpose did the Lord use the Assyrian army?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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